Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.
Whose story will you believe? Yours or the one who created you?
Let’s take a look at one story in particular to see the difference between the stories we tell ourselves and the one that God knows to be the truth about us.
The story of the Prodigal Son. Most all of us know it. Most all of us can quote it.
But, have you stopped to think of it in terms of true and false identity? I hadn’t until recently.
First, let’s take the wasteful son.
“I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”
Notice the response from his father.
“This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
The Father never listened to the false case of the son who didn’t feel like a son. The son wanted to be a servant. The Father only referred to him as son. Period. The Father never asked for repayment of the inheritance. He didn’t ask the son to apologize for wasting the money and time. He simply welcomed him as an ever-loving Father.
Now, let’s take a look at the servant son.
“Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”
Now, look at the response of the father.
“My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”
The Father never negated or put down the son’s points of debate. He simply spoke to the son of what he was missing by focusing on the work. By focusing on the work and what he wasn’t getting he missed the greater point that he was living in the Father’s house and being with the Father at all times.
You have to understand that you can believe whatever you want to about your self, your actions, and your life. But only what God knows about you is the truth about you. Rest in the fact that the story God tells is the truth about you.
The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into him, that they may delight in his Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself in the core and center of their hearts.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
I’ve heard it said that some people view the Trinity as “Father, Son, and Holy Bible”. While the Bible is the written word of God and should be held with high esteem, it should not be placed above the Word Himself. The Bible is a sherpa, but not Everest. The Bible is “Drake“, but not Daddy Warbucks. The Bible is Mr. Beaver, but not Aslan.
Studying the Bible is not about knowing more scriptures or memorizing more verses, it’s about learning more about God. Study it, read it, cross-reference it, devotion it, memorize it, but don’t idolize it.
Let the written word create in you a desire to study, read, cross-reference, and memorize the Living Word.
The goal of the Bible is not to know the Bible – the goal is to know the author.